Spring is just around the corner, and your thoughts might be turning to planting. If you are a gardener concerned about toxins in your foods, here is a list of organic pest control options:
Extensive List of Organic Pest Control Remedies
List compiled by Australian Organic Gardening
ORGANIC BUG SPRAY FROM ONION SCRAPS
You can make your own organic bug spray from kitchen leftovers! Simply save your onion skins, peels and ends then refrigerate in an empty margarine-sized tub or ziplock bag until the container is full. Once you have enough, place the onion pieces in a pail and fill with warm water. Soak for a few days, up to a week. You can keep this on the patio in the sun to steep but this is optional. After one week, strain the onion bits out and store the onion water in spray bottles.
Bury the onion bits around plants that are prone to aphids, spiders and other pests. Just spray both house and garden plants with the water to fight aphids and pests. You can also mix your garlic trimmings in with the onion pieces, bugs hate garlic too!
CURE FOR WHITE/BLACK SPOT (mildew)
Add *1 litre of FULL cream milk to an *8 litre watering can, watered on Roses or mildew attracting plants, will kill white/black spot
Make the oil spray by blending two cups of vegetable oil with one cup of pure liquid soap, and mix it until it turns white.
Dilute one tablespoon of the emulsion to one litre of water and spray all affected areas thoroughly. Do this during mild weather, because if it’s hot it may burn the plant’s leaves.
Scales shoot a sweet substance called honeydew. Ants literally farm the scale to feed on the honeydew. They’ll pick them up and they’ll move them all over the tree. Honeydew also leads to sooty mould, a black dusty fungus that grows over the leaves and stems. Controlling the scale will also get rid of the sooty mould.
If you only have a small amount of scale, scrape it off with a fingernail or toothbrush. Larger infestations can be controlled by spraying with an oil to suffocate them.
To keep APHIDS and OTHER PESTS off your roses: Finely chop 1 onion and 2 medium cloves of garlic. Put ingredients into a blender with 2 cups of water and blend on high. Strain out pulp. Pour liquid into spray bottle. Spray a fine mist on rose bushes, making sure to coat both tops and bottoms of leaves.
Chop 90 grams of garlic, cover with mineral oil let soak over night, strain, add 1 litre of soapy water and store in a glass jar with a sealed lid. Dilute one part garlic to 50 parts water for use in spraying.
ALUMINUM FOIL “FOILS” APHIDS
Use an aluminum foil much around the base of plants such as tomatoes. The reflection confuses the insects and drives them away.
3 hot green peppers (canned or fresh) 2 or 3 cloves garlic 3/4 tsp liquid soap 3 cups water Puree the peppers and garlic cloves in a blender. Pour into a spray bottle and add the liquid soap and water. Let stand 24 hours. Strain out pulp and spray onto infested plants, making sure to coat both tops and bottoms of leaves.
AGAINST INSECT PESTS
1. Soapy water (NOT detergent). Try to find one based on caustic potash, rather than caustic soda and mix well with water until frothy (you’ll need more soap in hard water areas). For aphids and other soft-shelled insects
2. Oil sprays suffocate insects. Boil 1 kg soap with 8L of oil, stirring until dissolved. Dilute 1:20 with water just before use. Spray on cool days only.
3. Tomato leaf spray (very poisonous). Cover leaves with water, boil and cool. Use immediately as a general insecticide.
4. Pyrethrum spray. Pick almost-open flowers of Tanacetum cinerariifolium and dry in a cool place. Cover a few tablespoons of flowers with cheap sherry, steep overnight and mix with a litre of hot soapy water. Cool and use within a few days as a general insecticide. Store in a dark place.
5. Wormwood spray. Infuse leaves in boiling water and leave for a few hours. Dilute 1:4 and use for sap-sucking insects.
6. Chilli spray – equal volumes chilli and water blended and sprayed fresh onto caterpillars. (Prevent contact with eyes and skin.)
7. Lapsang Souchong tea – a strong brew (1 tbspn in a pot) deters possums from nipping rose tips
8. Many other materials can be used to make insect sprays. Depending on what you have available, try -quassia, garlic, marigolds, melaleuca, parsnips, turnips, eucalyptus, larkspur, elder, white cedar (Melia azaderach) or rhubarb (Please note: larkspur, elder (except for ripe berries) white cedar and rhubarb leaves are all highly toxic to humans.)
AGAINST FUNGAL DISEASES
The following plants reportedly contain antifungal or antibacterial chemicals that you can extract via infusion to spray onto crops:Chamomile, chives, sheoak (Allocasuarina), elder, eucalyptus, garlic, horseradish, hyssop, melaleuca (tea-tree), neem (Azadirachta indica), nettle (Urtica dioica), and thyme.
1. Milk spray: a 1:1 mix of milk and water reportedly controls black spot on roses and fungal diseases on other plants
2. Fresh urine (a healthy person’s urine is sterile)
3. Condy’s Crystals: 1gram/L of potassium permanganate. Use immediately.
4. Washing soda: 110g dissolved in 5.5L water. Add 56g soap and use immediately.
5. Bordeaux mixture: In a bucket completely dissolve 90g of copper sulphate in 6.5L water. In another bucket, thoroughly mix 125g brickies lime with 2.5L water and strain into first bucket. Mix well and use immediately. 6. Dusting sulphur
This is a standard organic fungicide used to treat a wide range of rots, mildews, and blights. Mix 90g of copper sulphate (bluestone) with 4.5 litres of hot water in a non metallic container and leave overnight. Next day mix 125g slaked lime with 4.5 litres of cold water in a non metallic container. Combine both mixtures by stirring vigorously. Use immediately. An oil like Codacide can be added to increase its effectiveness. Bordeaux spray may clog nozzles. Also, if over-used, it may lead to a build up of copper in the soil and associated toxicity.
OTHER PEST CONTROL HINTS
1. Use companion plants that mask the scent or appearance of desirable crops. Many highly aromatic plants contain chemicals designed to make them unattractive to pests. Camphor, mints, scented pelargoniums, wormwood, southernwood, lavender, balm of Gilead, rosemary, sage and many other herbs have spicy/bitter scents rather than sweet ones. When actively growing amongst desirable crops, these herbs can confuse pest insects by masking attractive scents.
2. Use companion plants that act as trap, sacrifice or indicator crops. Some plants, including nasturtium, mustard and Chinese cabbage, can be used as decoys so that pests attack them rather than your crop. Roses planted along the edges of vineyards deter human predators but also provide early warning of mildew disease!3. Use Physical Pest ControlsThe good ol’ “see ’em and squash ’em” technique still works a treat for snails and slugs. Attract them with beer in a jar sunk into the ground, or lay a wooden plank a centimetre above the ground – they’ll shelter underneath it and you can squash them in the morning. Yellow boards painted with sticky oil will attract aphids. Control ants to reduce aphid and scale infestations on trees – a band of grease will stop them climbing the trunk. Codling moth can also be reduced by banding trees with corrugated cardboard soaked in derris spray.
ORGANIC SPRAY. Quarter fill your spray bottle with vinegar, a teaspoon each of molasses (melt down in a cup of hot water) and liquid soap, top up with tap water.
Collect by hand the nuisance pest, bug, grub or snail from your garden. Place the bug(s) into a blender, cover with fresh water and switch on. DON’T FORGET THE LID. Then strain, dilute 1 part to 20 parts of water into a spray bottle. Spray the juice on the underside of the leaves as well as on top.
Milk is effective against a range of mildews on peas, pumpkins and cucumber leaves. Use equal parts milk and water and spray every couple of days until the mildew is under control. If the mildew is out of control remove the affected leaves to avoid the mildew from spreading and do not water at night, try watering in the mornings.
Molasses is a good deterrent sticky spray, ideal for cabbage moths and grubs on the Brassicas. Blend 1 tablespoon of molasses with 1 litre of hot water until the colour of weak tea, then mix in one tea spoon of detergent, which will help the molasses to stick to the leaves, spray top and under side of the leaves. You could also add vinegar to this brew to make it more potent.
For cabbage moths and grubs on the Brassicas. Blend 1/4 vinegar with 3/4 of water, then mix in one tea spoon of detergent, which will help the vinegar to stick to the grubs, bugs and leaves of the plant, spray top and under side of the leaves. You can also add molasses to this brew.
1 table spoon of dishwashing detergent & 1 cup of vegetable oil. Mix together and store in an air tight bottle. When required add 1 to 2 ½ tea spoons of brew to 1 cup of water in a spray bottle, spray on plants covering all leaf and stem surfaces.
Is a mild fungicide. Pour boiling water over a chamomile tea bag, leave to steep for ten minutes, when cool use as a spray.
(Harmless to animals and humans) Two heaped tablespoon pyrethrum flowers, stand in one litre of hot soapy water for one hour, strain and use (the soap will help the spray to stick on the plants). Do not inhale the fumes as they are toxic.
Blend fresh chillies in water, add pure soap, strain and spray. Acts as a stomach poison and can be used against caterpillars. Spray along ant trails or kitchen shelves as an ant repellent. Used by beekeepers to keep ants from hives.
Cover leaves in boiling water, infuse several hours. Dilute 1 part brew 4 parts water, use as a spray. It has very pungent qualities which makes it useful against soft bodied insects. Good aphid and fly spray. General repellent for fleas, flies, housemoth, ants and snakes.
A spray made from rhubarb leaves is harmless to bees and breaks down quickly, but it is harmful to humans, so be sure to keep it out of the reach of children. Boil 1 kilogram of leaves in 3 litres of water for half an hour, strain, add some soap. Dilute with equal parts of water before spraying.
Spray recipe Mix 1 tbsp of liquid soap with 1 cup of vegetable oil. Dilute as required using 1-2.5 tsp of the mixture to 1 cup of water.Oil sprays can cause burning when applied to sensitive plants. If in doubt, test a plant sample first and wait 2-3 days to see if burning results. Oil sprays can also cause burning if applied when shade temperatures exceed 29 degrees celcius or when applied within 4 weeks of a sulfur spray such as wettable sulfur or lime sulfur.
INSECTICIDAL POTASSIUM SOAP
Insecticidal potassium soap has a high salt content which when sprayed on susceptible insects desiccates and kills them. Being a contact insecticide, the target insect must come into direct contact with the spray, so good coverage is essential for optimum results. Susceptible insects include aphids, mealybug, some mite species, thrip and whitefly. Potassium based soap products available on the home garden market include, ‘Moeco Neemtech’, ‘Yates Green Earth aphid-mite spray’, ‘Multicrop BugGuard’ and ‘Spraytech or Yates Naturasoap’.
Pure soap when mixed with water can be used as a natural insecticide for the control of some sap-sucking insect pests, including aphids and mealy bugs. It is a contact insecticide and works by breaking down the insect’s exoskeleton, causing it to dehydrate and die.
Sulfur is registered as a protectant and erradicant fungicide for the control of powdery mildew on vegetables and ornamentals, rust on vegetables and various fungal diseases on stonefruit. Sulfur is also registered as an insecticide, for the control of mites on vegetables and ornamentals, grape leaf rust mite and grape leaf blister mite on grapes and white louse scale, citrus rust mite and citrus bud mite on citrus. Sulfur should not be applied 21 days before or after an oil spray, in combination with an oil spray or when temperatures are expected to exceed 25 degrees celcius. Sulfur can be purchased as ‘Sulfur spray’, ‘Dusting sulfur’, ‘Powdered sulfur’ or ‘Wettable sulfur’ and can be found in various other products in combination with ‘mancozeb’, ‘copper oxychloride’, ‘rotenone’ and ‘carbaryl’.
Lime sulfur is registered to control powdery mildew on ornamentals and various diseases on stonefruit and apples. It is also registered as an insecticide for the control of some scale and mite species on various fruit trees, ornamentals and tomatoes.Lime sulfur should not be applied when the air temperature is over 32 degrees celsius, after a copper spray in the same season or within 2 weeks of an oil spray.
CONDIES CRYSTALS (potassium permanganate)
Condies crystals can be mixed with water and sprayed onto plant foliage to control powdery mildew. They may also be useful as a contact spray for the control of aphids and slugs.Condies crystal spray recipe Mix 30g of condies crystals, 9L of warm water and 30 ml of petroleum oil. Spray undiluted.
MOLASSES Molasses spray can be used as a feeding deterrent for chewing insects such as caterpillars and grasshoppers.Molasses spray recipe Mix 1 tbsp of molasses and 5 g of pure soap flakes in 1 L of water. Apply undiluted as required.Molasses applied to soil infested with nematodes may reduce root galling and nematode reproduction. Molasses soil treatmentApply 38 ml of molasses per litre of water per square metre of soil per week.
MILK Spraying equal parts full cream milk and water every 2 days may help control the fungal disease powdery mildew. Powdery mildew can be a problem in pea, tomato, capsicum and cucurbit crops.
VINEGAR Vinegar spray may be useful in controlling caterpillars and sap-sucking insects such as stink bugs, aphids, and mealybugs. Vinegar spray recipe Mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water and add 5 g of pure soap flakes.
CHILLI SPRAY FOR APHIDS ON ROSES
5 garlic cloves 3 hot chillies 2 litres of boiling water Steep overnight. Use in all garden sprayers.
general pest deterrent 10 garlic cloves 5 small hot chillies 3 medium onions 1 litre of water
Mix all ingredients together, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.Let stand overnight then add 2 tbsp. of milk. Store in labelled glass jars.Use by diluting 1 cup of the mixture to 9 litres of water. Use in all garden sprayers.
TO ERADICATE MILLIPEDES OR EARWIGS.
10 ml Eucalyptus Oil 10 ml Biodegradable Hair Shampoo 80 ml water Mix all ingredients together and spray around on the ground at night.
300 grams of Quassia Chips, (Surinam Tree:- wood, bark or root of this and other trees yielding bitter medicinal decoction) to 1 litre of water.
Boil chips for 5 minutes. Strain and collect water mixture. Spray on ground when cool.
Many small insects, especially thrips and aphids, can be suffocated by being sprayed with a weak solution of water soluble glue. Fine clay mixed with water has a similar effect but tends to clog spray nozzles.
Boil 500g of lantana leaves in 1 litre of water- for 20 minutes. Cool and strain. Spray liberally on affected plants. Most effective against aphids. A stronger spray can he made by substituting wormwood for lantana.
Please note : All Natural sprays can be dangerous, so LABEL well, and keep out of reach of children. Also overuse of deterants can jepordise the natural balance, so use sprays of any sort, sparingly
Source – Australian Organic Gardening